Agenda item

London Borough of Brent - Welsh Harp Management Plan


Leslie Williams introduced the report updating the Committee on the progress of the Brent Welsh Harp Management Plan. Mr Williams advised that appendix A of the report listed the main items on the plan. He informed the Committee that the Oak Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) had recently been report as present at the Welsh Harp and was considered to be a health hazard. A protein in the caterpillars' tiny hairs could cause skin and eye irritations, sore throats and breathing difficulties in people and animals who encounter them. He said priorities had been set to reduce the spread of these moths, The Welsh Harp Sailing Association reported infestation on the site and explained consultation between the Forestry Commission and Brent had taken place, resulting in plans to cut affected trees down. However, the Committee was advised that the recommendation was not to cut down trees as they did not necessarily prevent the spread of moths in all incidences. The Committee noted the best time to carry out treatment of the moths was during winter months and that members of the public who were in any doubt could report and post images of the moths onto the Friends of Welsh Harp website.


As noted above, an update had been requested from Barnet Council with regards to Cool Oak Bridge due to the site currently acting as a hotspot for fly tipping. The Committee heard the area was scheduled to be cleared once a week as a priority clearance place, located at the border of Barnet and Brent. The Committee discussed solutions to stop culprits and the possibility of CCTV being placed in the area. The Committee felt educational messages and signage information were lacking in both Brent and Barnet locations, despite continuous requests from Cleaner Earth. Councillor Agha confirmed that Brent was removing the rubbish but it was not related to the Brent bin collection services. The rubbish that was dumped was building waste and other big items, with rubbish reportedly been thrown out of moving vehicles.


The London Wildlife Trust suggested otters were present on almost every waterway and should be encouraged to the Welsh Harp by installing a suitable holt. The London Wildlife Trust suggested the Otters could also be used as a preventative measure against the invasive Crayfish species. The trust explained that the signal crayfish’s extensive burrows destabilise banks, causing erosion and bank collapse, increasing flood risk and the silt load in the water. They feed on fish and amphibian eggs, tadpoles, juvenile fish, aquatic invertebrates, detritus and aquatic vegetation and where present reduce populations of native species and affect food webs.

It was requested by the London Wildlife Trust that a couple of halts should be established. Richard Bennett from the Canal & River Trust proposed to have further discussions, as there might not be opportunities for otters to spread into the Welsh Harp itself and so research needed to be conducted prior to installation of holts. The Committee were told the cost of installing holts would be minimal and would need to be implemented more on the Brent side of the Welsh Harp.



(i)            That Greenspaces would be asked to introduce new bins and signage at the appropriate locations to prevent littering at hotspots.

(ii)          That Greenspaces investigate the possibility of putting in place interventions by introducing enforcement officers into the area or via installation of CCTV cameras. That the Canal River Trust, the Environment Agency and The London Wildlife Trust collectively investigate the introduction of Otters to the Welsh Harp to control the signal crayfish.



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